The inevitable fall season is upon us. And with Labor Day right around the corner, here’s the top five moments in Black music that will have us on our feet—and undoubtedly shook!
Cruel Summer, G.O.O.D. Music Compilation
Kanye West. Pusha T. John Legend. Estelle. Big Sean. Common. Q-Tip. Kid Cudi. 2 Chainz. Teyana Taylor?
There’s not a lot to say about what is probably the most anticipated album of the year that hasn’t already been said. Slated to be released on September 18, the record’s title is something of a misnomer (okay, that’s been said), but nevermind that. Is the most meticulous curator of all things artistic at the helm of another masterpiece or a murky project for his lofty ambitions? Can 2 Chainz, proud to be incessant in his unwitting, and coexist with Common’s ever-cerebral and always critical flow?
As an addendum, it should be noted how on fire Big Sean is at the moment. He killed his feature on Kanye West’s “Mercy”, completely took over Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me”, and shined profusely on Chris Brown’s “Till I Die”. On September 5, he’ll release his newly announced mixtape, Detroit. And then there is this bit of dopeness.
Jay-Z Concerts at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
More important and certainly more fascinating than Jay-Z’s hand in molding the future of the Brooklyn Nets— The New York Times did a fantastic piece of reporting on the influence Jay-Z’s had on the Nets’ revival and move to his hometown Brooklyn—is how the event marks a full-circle moment of the borough’s new status as a global cultural force. Hov is its undeniable figurehead, and for a man wont to play up big moments (and this is certainly one of them), is there anything he can’t pull off?
Brandy, Two Eleven (RCA)
I looked around the room at the folks with whom I watched the BET Awards this past year, and while the real tears were yet to come, a few were tearing up during Brandy’s electric stage performance. Whitney, as it were, was gone and the real tears wouldn’t begin to stream until her mother Cissy’s performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. It was Brandy’s poise and syrupy tone on “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” that seemed to capture the moment that the: “Where has this girl been?” and “Why was her last great record Never Say Never?” Up next for the star who it seemed couldn’t miss in the nineties, is her first studio album on RCA Records, titled Two Eleven. Brandy reportedly worked with Drake, Frank Ocean, Sean Garrett and Timbaland. Her cut, “Wildest Dreams”, the Sean Garrett collaboration, is a sure-fire hit. It’s the helplessly sweet, vulnerable Brandy that recalls an era, not long ago, when it seemed she just wanted to be down.
Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
It’s hard to say where hip-hop’s core rests right now; if it rests somewhere left of the flashy, crew-driven records with monster production chock-full of lyrical bombast, and right of the infectious but often bewildering affect of say, Odd Future, purists and popsters alike can likely agree on Kendrick Lamar as the genre’s darling, and its most meaningful and captivating new star. For his debut record, Kendrick’s been reported to have worked with J. Cole and even Lady Gaga. Few would be surprised if this Interscope-backed project got delayed—but it’ll be well worth the wait.
Barack Obama Campaign Music
Nov. 6, Election Day
It’s not a moment per se, but if President Obama is going to re-elected this fall, it won’t be without the help of some amazing music. On the campaign’s Spotify playlist is “Keep Marchin’” by Raphael Saadiq, “The Weight” by Aretha Franklin and includes songs by Chicago native Jennifer Hudson as well as Earth, Wind and Fire.